What Makes for Good Answers to DEI and ESG Questions in RFPs?


In the world of RFPs and DDQs, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) questions are becoming commonplace. More than commonplace actually – they are becoming demanding. Institutional investors need to be ready to answer questions about your diversity and your commitment to responsible investing. And so they are asking more frequent and more detailed questions about ESG and diversity. 

But answering those questions is still a challenge, one that we want to be a part of solving for ourselves and our clients. To that end, we hosted another “Summit” this month, where we were joined by a group of RFP professionals from some of the top asset management firms. We wanted to know: what kind of DEI/ESG questions are they experiencing? And what makes for good answers? 

Our Summits are a way for us to talk with our network of clients and professionals about difficult communications challenges. In the past year, we’ve held Summits to discuss shareholder reporting challenges, presentation best practices, and advisor experiences in educating clients about ESG investing. But in our view, telling a proper story about your firm’s approach to diversity and responsible investing may be the #1 challenge industry professionals are facing. 

Questions About ESG and Diversity: What We Found 

We came away from the Summit with great insights and a better idea of the essential components of good DEI and ESG answers. We were able to hear first-hand the types of questions about ESG and DEI investing that these RFP professionals are receiving, and what factors into their responses.  

Paired with what we know from experience, we identified some key points that we will use when developing ESG and diversity investing content. For example, in our own work with clients, we’ve moved DEI/ESG content from brief and general to detailed and specific; most participants reported the same thing.   

If you missed the conversation, we took notes and offered up some of our own insight based on what we learned.  

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